Air India Flight 182 bomber released from Canadian prison

Inderjit Singh Reyat was convicted of perjury over bombing of plane off Irish coast in 1985

A victim of the Air India Flight 182 bombing  is removed from Cork Airport on a stretcher in June 1985.

A victim of the Air India Flight 182 bombing is removed from Cork Airport on a stretcher in June 1985.

 

Sikh militant Inderjit Singh Reyat, who was convicted for his role in the bombing of an Air India flight off the Irish coast in 1985, has been released from prison in Canada.

Canadian authorities told The Irish Times that Reyat left custody sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday.

He now faces strict release conditions that will monitor his whereabouts and associations, a spokesman said.

The Canadian national had completed two-thirds of a nine-year sentence for perjury committed during the trial of two other men accused of involvement in the bombing.

The men, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajiab Singh Bagri, were both acquitted of murder.

Reyat had previously pleaded guilty to reduced charges of helping make the bomb at his home in Duncan, British Columbia, for which he spend five years in jail.

Air India Flight 182 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean on June 23rd, 1985, killing 329 people.

Reyat was the only person ever convicted in relation to the bombing.

Revenge

Canadian and Indian authorities have long believed the bombing was conducted by Sikh extremists living in western Canada, as revenge for India’s storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984.

Police in Canada have said the plotters planned to destroy an Air India jet over the Pacific Ocean at the same time, but the suitcase bomb exploded in Japan’s Narita airport instead, killing two baggage handlers.

Reyat spent 10 years in prison for building the bomb that exploded at the Narita airport.

The completion of his perjury sentence brought to an end two decades of incarceration.

The Parole Board of Canada said eight conditions have been attached to Reyat’s release, including the rare demand that he remain in a halfway house.

He is not to have any access to or possession of extremist propaganda; he must attend counselling to address issues of violence, empathy and cognitive distortions and he must report any contact, friendships or acquaintances with other men.

He also must not possess any components that could be used to build an explosive device; avoid any contact with the families of the airline victims; not participate in any political activity and not associate with any people whom he knows to have been, or has reason to believe is, involved in any criminal or political activity or extremism.

Anniversary

The 30th anniversary of the 1985 bombing was marked at ceremonies in Cork last year.

The Canadian government has formally apologised to families of the Air India victims and said authorities failed to act on information that could have prevented the bombings.

Police say the investigation remains open, but many of the other people believed to have been involved in the plot have since died.